Friday, August 20, 2010

Free Advice

Lizzie over at Portrait of a Lady is hosting this months addition of The Handover Blog Carnival and her Subject is comprised of questions I have heard many times and have been compellled to answer even when they haven't been asked. So for me, this is a good subject.
 Lizzie is about to enter an EMT program and she asks:

If you happened to be my preceptor during practicum, what would you teach me?

What's the most important thing (or things) that you think I need to know before you sign me off to work on my own?

 To all the newbies I offer this gentle advice:

 80% of life is showing up.

 This means you should be present in all your classes and labs, not just in body, but also in mind and spirit. Learning does not take place if you are not completely involved and actively attending to what is going on. BE in the moment during your classes. This sets the stage for the field work and your career. We are always learning in the field and I don't care how long you have been doing this. You never know when you will see something new, but even on the 'same old' calls, you are LEARNING about the patient in front of you, PAY ATTENTION. (Incidently, as soon as you start calling calls 'routine' you stop paying attention and can miss a critical piece of information. Don't get sloppy.) Be ready to go in your classes and be ready to go when you are working.

The other 20% of life is attitude.

 If you have a can do/can learn/can perform attitude you will succeed in anything you attempt. We all start out this way because we believe we can do the things we want to do. The key is that when you learn that what you wanted is not as easy as first thought, and there is some work and difficult moments involved, your desire begins to wane. You must recognize this and work through it. If you want it, you have to really want it, and that means working through the problems and dealing with the distasteful parts. Some things (and these are usually hard to predict) will trip you up. You need to work through these. You need to probe your weaknesses when they show up and find out how YOU can deal with them. If you master these things and keep a positive attitude about yourself, you have what you need.

 The rest is gravy and all the other advice falls in the tid-bit category. It's all about wrapping your mind around the job and 'coming to play and win' everyday. You will lose a fair amount of the time, but that should not prevent you from playing the game. Also, realize that just about EVERYBODY in this business has something that really shakes them up. Some folks can't handle eye injuries, some (many) have troubles with PED calls, I have seen a lot of these. I know one Certified Public Safety Diver who cannot walk out on a frozen pond. He will not do Ice Jobs, but he'll search for bodies in black water all day long. I have a great deal of trouble dealing with animal rescues. I have no freakin' idea why, but do not attempt to talk to me after we pull a dog out of a river. Leave me the hell alone, I am doing my paperwork and headed home right after the shift. NO, I do NOT want to 'talk about it'. When/If you find your 'thing', you need to find a way to work through it. You signed up for this work and you cannot show up at one of these jobs and say "sorry, I don't DO those". You need to deal with it and get it done.

 Lastly, remember to breath occasionally. Take it all in and think about what you did, AFTER the call. Always look to do a better job next time. Treat every patient as if they were your neighbor, parent, or friend. Respect your co-workers as well as your patients.

 You'll do fine. Oh, and don't forget to keep your head down and the exit in sight at all times.

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